The FT editorial board: foreign meddling is fuelling a conflict in which there can be no victor
Some of those who have read the Financial Times for its news coverage for several years will have noticed a change of emphasis on issues of social justice since it was bought by the Nikkei. It has also withdrawn from the unjustifiable media onslaughts on the leader of the Labour Party.
Its call for global action to end the fighting in Libya is consistent with Japan’s security policy and Article 9 of its constitution.
Japan has closely monitored the use of its peacekeepers in South Sudan who were helping to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the long civil war between northern and the southern Sudan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that the Government of Japan has now decided to revise the Implementation Plan for the International Peace Cooperation Assignments and extend its peace-keeping service there until 31 May 2020.
The Financial Times editorial opens with the news that a detention centre for African migrants in Tripoli (below) was hit by an air strike killing at least 55 people, including six children – the Cyprus Mail gives the numbers as 40 dead and 80 injured.
After trekking through the Sahel, African migrants are rounded up and held for an average of two years in inhumane conditions. Now they have become targets in the latest conflict to erupt in the oil-rich north African state.
The FT editorial: “foreign powers have played a duplicitous role”
Rival factions carved up the country into a ‘patchwork of fiefdoms’ following the western-backed toppling of Muammer Gaddafi in 2011.
While preaching peace and stability, regional powers supported rival sides. Qatar and Turkey have supported militias loyal to the Tripoli government, while Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have backed the self-styled Libyan National Army. More than 1,000 people have been killed since the offensive was launched.
Two days after the strike, which UN envoy said could be a war crime, the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning the attack — calling for a ceasefire. The editorial comments that the communiqué was apparently delayed by US foot dragging.
The editorial reports that the main players have pursued rival interests that have hampered diplomatic efforts.
- Italy, which worries about the flow of migrants, has favoured the UN-backed government,
- France, which has courted Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army and
- Russia which has also backed Mr Haftar who controls eastern Libya.
It continues: “Washington, meanwhile, has delivered confused messages typical of the Trump administration’s incoherence on the Middle East. The State Department initially condemned the fighting, only for Donald Trump to call Mr Haftar and praise his ‘significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources’ “.
Weapons have been flooding in to all sides, in violation of a longstanding arms embargo. This, coupled with the inaction of the UN Security Council, has led to prolonged suffering for the war-weary population. The FT’s editorial board ends:
“World powers must put serious effort into securing a ceasefire and the UN Security Council needs to enforce the arms embargo. There should then be concerted action to restart a UN-led diplomatic process that would offer the best chance of bringing a semblance of stability. If no diplomatic process is launched, regional and international powers will be complicit in a proxy war that drives Libya towards deeper disintegration”.